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Example of an Operating System

Linux is not just a great OS, it also give a great example how a modern desktop/server OS is build and how it is working.

This article is for all those that are interested in the working of it, having worked on Windows you might not really have seen it all the way down.

The details and analytic problem finding that can be derived from this way of working enables an administrator to solve pretty much any problem independently and have a good idea, how much effort and time it will take.

As an example, I will take Debian Etch, with the kernel with the version 2.6.18-4.
The distro has just become stable as of April 2007 and has of today an almost perfect mix between new features, advanced architecture and stability.

The parts of an OS

System Core:

The system core, called kernel, 4

User space:




File System:

Virtual Memory:


Startup scripts

System startup / runlevels

Graphical Frontend:

Task scheduler 

Sound server

this document was created on:
17. Apr. 2007
updated on:
27. Apr. 2007